Japanese minister leaves over nuclear gaffe

2011-09-10 18:04

kalahari.com

Tokyo - Japan's new trade minister resigned on Saturday over a remark seen as insensitive to nuclear evacuees, dealing a blow to a government that took office just eight days ago in the hopes it could better tackle the daunting tsunami recovery.

"A series of my remarks caused serious distrust among the people, especially the people of Fukushima," Yoshio Hachiro said at a late-night news conference. "I seriously reflected on my remarks, and I made the decision to step down."

He said he informed Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of his decision during an evening meeting.

Noda, who took office and installed a new Cabinet on September 2, accepted it after spending most of the day visiting Miyagi and Iwate prefectures, hard-hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Noda, Hachiro and other government ministers were visiting the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Thursday when Hachiro made his verbal gaffe.

He called the desolate evacuation zone around the plant "a town of death" and later told reporters he just meant to convey the seriousness of the situation and his commitment to decontaminate it so residents can return.

Sweating heavily under intense questioning by reporters, Hachiro said the remarks "rubbed the feelings of Fukushima people the wrong way" but that he did not intend to be hurtful.

He explained that his words were his honest impression of the area around the plant.

"You can't find a place like that anywhere else but there," Hachiro said. "I couldn't think of any other word but that to describe my feeling."

Hachiro, 63, was less forthcoming about a second comment that also was criticised.

According to local news reports, he joked with journalists that radiation he acquired on his clothing during his visit to Fukushima might be contagious.

"It was something I said off-the-record, and I don't want to talk about it any more," he said. The ministers wore protective bodysuits like those of the workers they met at the plant during their visit.

People affected by the disasters, political opponents and even members of the ruling Democrats had strongly criticised his remark.
- AP
Read more on:    yoshihiko noda  |  japan  |  japan earthquake
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Beauty

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The virtual world can be very tempting to escape into but focus on also being present and keeping your feet anchored in reality....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.